Virus testing centers may open in Sept. at Japan airports

15, Jul. 2020

Haneda Airport, Tokyo (Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash)
Haneda Airport, Tokyo (Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash)

TOKYO, Kyodo - Japan may start operating coronavirus testing centers at major airports and in large cities in September as part of efforts to ease restrictions on international travel, government officials said Tuesday.

Japan will initially aim to carry out around 9,000 polymerase chain reaction tests per day on travelers at the centers at Haneda, Narita and Kansai airports as well as in the Tokyo and Osaka metropolitan areas, the officials said.

The government will increase its screening capacity to 13,000 tests per day after bolstering the capabilities of existing quarantine stations, it said.

Authorities will also try to reduce the amount of time it takes to process tests and provide results from days to hours at the new facilities by introducing advanced testing methods, government officials said earlier.

The testing centers servicing inbound arrivals will be able to process 6,000 people daily -- 1,800 at Haneda in Tokyo, 2,700 at Narita near Tokyo and 1,500 at Osaka's Kansai.

The centers can also cover 6,000 people departing Japan daily, with 500 at Haneda, 700 at Narita and 600 at Kansai.

The locations in Tokyo and Osaka will only handle travelers departing Japan, with their daily testing capacities at 800 and 400, respectively.

Certificates will be issued to those who test negative at the centers.

Private clinics will conduct tests for those leaving Japan until the centers open, but the total number of tests performed daily is believed to be no more than several hundred. (Kyodo)